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Free Money for Mutual Fund Investors

A surprising bounty for lucky shareholders.

Russel Kinnel, 06/30/2009

On Feb. 18, the stock market slipped a little under the burden of the financial crisis and recession. Old Mutual Growth OBHGX, however, shot up a remarkable 9 percentage points. The secret? The fund received a big check from the Fair Fund set up to compensate people harmed by market-timing and other nasty tricks at PBHG funds, which since have been renamed Old Mutual.

The market-timing settlements were set up so that damages would be assessed, victimized shareholders would be compensated, and, as a final step, leftover money would be returned to the funds in amounts proportionate to the harm.

Old Mutual's funds may have been the first to receive payouts from the leftover sums.

The remaining Fair Funds appear to be from investors who couldn't be tracked down, investors who were owed less than $10 and thus were not worth tracking down, and a few checks that were sent out but not cashed. In the case of the PBHG settlement, the firm paid $250 million in its settlement with regulators, and $35 million of that was paid back to the funds. Of the $35 million, $24 million went into Old Mutual Growth, as it had been judged to be harmed the most.PAGEBREAK

Scores of mutual funds that were scarred by the market-timing scandal figure to be in line for one-time bonanzas, but most won't be nearly as large.

PBHG/Old Mutual Growth is special because it was judged to have been harmed much more than most funds in the timing scandal.

In addition, the fund's asset base has shriveled from $4.4 billion to $300 million over that time, so there are far fewer shareholders left to enjoy the last little payout.

 Mutual Funds in Fair Fund Settlements*
AIM (Most AIM funds were found to have suffered some damage.)


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